Saturday, 10 February 2018
Oliver!: Spiritualized - Angel Sigh (10 April 1992)
I initially had a question mark next to this track, taken from Spiritualized’s first album Lazer Guided Melodies. I suspect this was probably due to the extended noodling fadeout. However, I’ve fallen more and more in love with it (even the fade out - which doesn’t seem that long when you consider it) while listening to it ahead of this post.
When considering the gorgeous opening 45 seconds - all gentle arpeggios, bass prods, lightly struck tabla and ambient shuffle between keyboards and guitar - I have to refer to a YouTube comment made by Cyrus Budd. They say simply, “Spacegaze.” It’s a summation that is hard to beat. Such is the beguiling sense of space and scale cooked up by this opening that I keep expecting the impassioned vocal of a Richard Ashcroft or similar to come in and dominate the space. As a result, it always surprises me when the phased, husky whisper of Jason Pierce comes in instead. Pierce always sounds like a man trying to convey the depth of his love/desire/emotion while simultaneously suffering with a hangover and a dose of flu. Here, he’s admiring a woman from afar, his feelings either unrequited or contained inside him so far. The beautiful ambient feel of the first minute catches all too well the sense of anticipation that comes from waiting for her to come around the corner and be seen in all her glory. And then, in classic “quiet/loud/quiet/loud” style, she comes into view and suddenly the guitars are screaming out and the angels are playing their autoharps, as though the spirit of Brian Jones had been drafted into the Spiriualized line-up for this track. One can almost feel the sun bursts behind her as she walks down the street. After a repeat of this formula, we go into the long fade out - not that long actually, only about 2 and a half minutes - but it’s quiet all the way through to the end, leaving the indelible image of Pierce waiting patiently (fruitlessly?) for his angel to appear again.
Video courtesy of Rabbit1Lee.